This morning, Transport minister Andrew Adonis opened the final section of the London to Glasgow motorway.

Described by the Department of Transport as the ‘missing link’, the £174 million M6 Extension from north of Carlisle to the Scottish Border has been opened 50 years to the day after the first section of motorway.

Utterly hopeless - half a century to complete one of the country’s main arteries.

The Preston By-pass, just 8.2 miles long, was opened by then-PM Harold Macmillan on 5 December 1958. 75 miles of M1 quickly followed it, the following year.

Britain was, of course, 24 years behind Italy, which built the first Autostrada in Europe.

In today’s press release, Minister Adonis says UK motorways are